August 20, 2020
We have noted in several Midwest Finesse columns in years past that a 3 1/2- to four-inch curly-tail grub affixed to a jig has played an integral role in the repertoire of many Midwest finesse anglers. But at many of the venues that Midwest finesse anglers ply, it seems as if the grub’s effectiveness has waned in recent years.
This demise has provoked some Midwest finesse anglers to find an alternative. Small swimbaits have become one of their options, and Big Bite Baits’ smallest Suicide Shad fits this option very well indeed.
We contacted Scotty Petersen of Oakdale, Minnesota, who is Big Bite Baits’ media coordinator, and he sent us several of them to work with and examine.
Here is what we discovered about it.
Big Bite Baits introduced it to the angling world at the 2016 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show in Orlando, Florida. The folks at Big Bite Baits call their small Suicide Shad a finesse version of their BB Kicker Swimbait.
Although it is named after some kind of a shad, the profile of its head and torso resemble that of a variety of chubs, shiners, and darters rather than that of a gizzard or threadfin shad.
In essence, it is a narrow and slender swimbait.
According to our measurements, it is 3 7/16 inches long, and when its tail is fully extended, it is 3 13/16 inches long. The folks at Big Bite Baits call it a 3.5-inch Suicide Shad.
Its snout is slightly domed-shaped, possessing a width of about seven-sixteenths of an inch and circumference of about 1 1/4 inches. At the tip of its snout, it has a circular indentation that has a diameter of three-sixteenths of an inch, and this is where Midwest finesse anglers will insert the hook and collar or bait keeper of a mushroom-style jig.
Each side of its head is adorned with a three-dimensional eye that has a diameter of three-sixteenths of an inch. The center of the eye’s pupil is seven-sixteenths of an inch from the tip of the snout. The Suicide Shad’s head is solid, which also facilitates rigging it on a jig.
Its abdomen or ventral exhibits the contours of a variety of shiners and chubs. It is endowed with a hook slot that is 1 1/2 inches long. It begins five-sixteenths of an inch from the tip of its snout.
The predorsal region is virtually flat. Its abdomen and dorsal are slightly convex.
At one inch from the tip of its snout, its torso has a circumference of 1 7/16 inches. At this spot, the dorsal area has a width of three-eighths of an inch, its abdomen has a width of five-sixteenths of an inch, and the distance from its dorsal to its abdomen is about five-eighths of an inch.
Its torso is not segmented. And it becomes dramatically narrower and thinner as it reaches the junction with its tail.
At the end of the hook slot, which is 1 7/8 inches from the tip of its snout and 1 7/16 inches from the end of its tail, is where the Suicide Shad’s caudal peduncle begins. And this is where the torso becomes considerably smaller and thinner. The caudal peduncle’s ventral area is slightly curved and one inch long. Its dorsal is not curved and is one inch long. At the beginning of the caudal peduncle, its dorsal area is about a quarter of an inch wide, and its ventral area is about a quarter of an inch wide. The distance from its dorsal to its ventral is about three-eighths of an inch.
At the junction with the Suicide Shad’s tail, the caudal peduncle’s shape becomes virtually flat and the circumference diminishes to about a half of an inch. The width of its dorsal diminishes to about one-sixteenth of an inch, and the width of its ventral is slightly less than one-sixteenth of an inch. The distance from its dorsal to its ventral is three-sixteenths of an inch.
The Suicide Shad is adorned with two tails. One is a paddle-style tail. The second one is a forked-tail fin, which is stenciled onto the surface of the skin of the tail’s flange-like segment. This forked-tail fin replicates the tails of small gizzard shad, threadfin shad, and shiners. The dorsal portion of the flange is straight and three-eighths of an inch long. Its ventral is curved and about three-quarters of an inch long. At the flange’s junction with the paddle, the distance from its dorsal to its abdomen is about five-eighths of an inch.
The paddle portion of the tail is about one-sixteenth of an inch thick. It is slightly more than eleven-sixteenths of an inch wide at its widest spot. The distance from the top of the paddle to the bottom is about thirteen-sixteenths of an inch.
It is available in these hues: Ayu, Black, Bleeding Shad, Bling, Blue Back Herring, Blue Gizzard, Chartreuse Gizzard, Citrus Shad, Deadly Shad, Fish Bone, Gillateen, Gizzard Shad, Light Perch, Magic Purple, Pearl, Pearly Shad, Purple Dawn, Rayburn Red, SS Green, SS Shad, TN Shad, and Watermelon Red Ghost.
The surfaces on some of the heads and torsos are stenciled with images of fish scales and gill membranes. Except for the Deadly Shad, Fish Bone, Magic Purple, and SS Green hues of Suicide Shad, the torsos are embellished with a black dot, which is similar to the black spot that adorns each side of a gizzard shad and threadfin shad.
A package of five can be purchased for $5.99.
- Here is the link to Big Bites Baits’ website: https://bigbitebaits.com/product/suicide-shad/.
- Midwest finesse anglers will affix it to a mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook. And they will employ it as they traditionally employed their curly-tailed-grub rigs with a slow and do-nothing swimming retrieve, which is the retrieve that the late Charlie Brewer of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, taught to them decades ago, and sometimes this retrieve is called polishing the rocks. There will be times, of course, when they retrieve it through, over, and around patches of aquatic vegetation, such as American pondweed, American water willows, brittle naiad, bushy pondweed, chara, coontail, curly-leaf pondweed, and milfoil. They will also swim it around laydowns and flooded terrestrial vegetation. For more information about Midwest finesse retrieves, please see the column at this link: https://www.in-fisherman.com/midwest-finesse/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves.
- Here are links to other Midwest Finesse gear guides that focus on other soft-plastic baits manufactured by Big Bite Baits: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/big-bite-baits-shaking-squirrel/330038.